ELMONT, N.Y. -- Thoroughbred racing was dealt a stunning blow Friday as I'll Have Another was retired from racing due to a case of tendonitis in his left foreleg.
The colt's owner, Paul Reddam, along with trainer Doug O'Neill announced that the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner was not healthy enough to attempt to win the Triple Crown Saturday in the Belmont Stakes.
"This is officially to tell you that I'll Have Another has retired, so I'm afraid history's going to have to wait for another day," Reddam said. "We were all a bit shocked but we have to do what's best for the horse and if he can't compete at the top level, you know, he's done enough."
O'Neill said the injury, which he first noticed Thursday afternoon, is not severe, but would likely prevent I'll Have Another from delivering his usual performance.
"He's not 100 percent and I ain't taking any chances," O'Neill said Friday. "The bottom line is it's not tragic, no one got killed, there are much bigger issues in the world."
Reddam is already guaranteed to make millions when I'll Have Another becomes a stallion.
I'll Have Another was seeking to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. He is now the first horse since Bold Venture in 1936 to win the first two legs, but fail to compete in the Belmont.
The shocking turn of events came with more than 100,000 people expected to flock to Belmont Park for a chance to witness history, with millions more set to watch the mile-and-a-half race on NBC.
I'll Have Another had drawn the No. 11 post against a field of 11 rivals and was the 4-5 favorite. The top two contenders are now Dullahan, who finished a fast-closing third in the Kentucky Derby, followed by Union Rags.
The son of Flower Alley ends his career with earnings of $2.6 million, winning all four of his races this year.
Reddam bought I'll Have Another as a two-year-old for the modest sum of $35,000. By comparison, Union Rags and Dullahan were purchased by their current owners for $390,000 and $250,000 respectively.